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News Assange accuses Facebook of being a US spying tool

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by arcticstoat, 3 May 2011.

  1. AstralWanderer

    AstralWanderer New Member

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    Do you have a bank account? With a cash or credit card? With a PIN number? If so, that qualifies as "something to hide" does it not? (unless you fancy being cleaned out by your local friendly fraudster). Website logins (like this forum) could also be considered as "something to hide" (though it wouldn't be hard to pick up Bit-Tech forum passwords since their login page isn't encrypted).
    Last time I checked, Assange was neither - that didn't stop the US government from trying to dig up details of his online activity.

    And since we are talking about the US government, now would be an appropriate point to remember how they closed down legitimate businesses they didn't like, forced an email provider to compromise its security (yes, it was for an illegal business but a far cry from terrorism) and is in apparent thrall to the media industry - how long before similar tactics are used on anyone running a modded console, providing (or using) hacks to disable DRM or tracking down whistleblowers generally?

    To be fair (and given this is a UK-based site) there have been plenty of similar abuses in the UK with local authorities using RIPA (the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000) to investigate people for "non-terrorist" reasons including according to BigBrotherWatch "spying on their own employees, dog fouling, people breaking the smoking ban and even the test purchase of a puppy".

    So governments cannot be trusted to use surveillance powers responsibly (and secret services, lacking the requirement of public disclosure, have less reason to do so), have an increasing ability to monitor people online and offline and have links (revealed in the HBGary Federal aftermath) to commercial companies that don't even have an electorate to account to.

    Adding to this Facebook's long-standing contempt for user privacy, the only surprise should be anyone being surprised at them handing data to the US Government.
     
  2. ObeyTheCreed

    ObeyTheCreed New Member

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    Lol i know a guy like this at school, he's a freaking moron, always believing conspiracy theories and other crap, the thing is, if you've got something to hide, wth are you doing on facebook or google or yahoo anyway??? If you're actually using public e-mail accts to talk about your "illegal" activites, you're a ****ing retard anyway and deserve to be caught.
     
  3. ObeyTheCreed

    ObeyTheCreed New Member

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  4. Xir

    Xir Well-Known Member

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    You don't need to have something to hide, nor is the amount of your kittens relevant.

    Most Facebook users have "friends" listed, and many accept "Friends" of "Friends".
    Now if one of these "Friends of Friends" turns out to be a terrorist, this means, for the CIA, You're friends with a terrorist, you communicate on a regular basis with a terrorist.

    This guy is a "Friend of a friend", for you he's just someone in your list whom you've never chatted with, but for Facebook he's your buddy.

    Just a thought ;)
     
  5. greypilgers

    greypilgers New Member

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    Hmmm... An interesting thought. Good point, well made...
     
  6. specofdust

    specofdust Banned

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    Hold on a sec, some people actually thought western governments weren't helping themselves to pretty much any online data they wanted, so long as it was held by western companies? Damn.

    The EU's been recommending EU citizens encrypt their e-mails for years now, ever since they looked into ECHELON and found that, despite sounding crazy, there probably is a western or UKUSA sigint program to gather as much intelligence as is technologically possible across all spectrums.

    I don't see why people are making out like this would be something surprising. If anything, I think Assange is alleging something that most people should already expect.
     
  7. Xir

    Xir Well-Known Member

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    The surprising thing is people going on against Assange for stating this which should be obvious...:D
     
  8. Denis_iii

    Denis_iii New Member

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    lol +1
     
  9. AstralWanderer

    AstralWanderer New Member

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    Did you not take note of the examples posted above of disproportionate action against non-terrorists?

    Even if you consider counter-terrorism measures alone (and ignore their misuse in other areas) you still have problems of innocent people being caught in the dragnet due to an unrelated connection (as Xir notes, examples of this here and here)
    And it's that line of thinking that allows the TSA (and similar agencies in other countries) to get away with full body scans and other abuses of personal privacy. As Benjamin Franklin said: "“Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”
     
  10. Sloth

    Sloth #yolo #swag

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    This incriminates you in what way? Provided you weren't aware of his/her activities and didn't participate in them you're good to go. Worst that may happen is your information may be accessed by a subpoena to make sure that you weren't involved.
     
  11. Picarro

    Picarro New Member

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    Uhm. I do believe that "something to hide" refers to illegal activity. Of course I don't want every living person in the government knowing my pin and bank details, but do I care if they actually check if I have sent huge amounts of cash to wada-wada-stan? No.


    I don't particularly care for "freedom of privacy" if the government think they can foil a terrorist attack where my countrymen could be harmed by accessing something I deem private, who am I to object?
    If the government looks at my files on my computer, chances are they have a pretty effing good reason and won't care for any torrented files named "Hot Alice Getting It On With Big Black Dude".
     
  12. Fizzban

    Fizzban Man of Many Typos

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    Oh you got that one too :blush:
     
  13. AstralWanderer

    AstralWanderer New Member

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    No - what may happen is that you get hassled with extra security checks (as highlighted in the Security researcher: I keep getting detained by feds I linked to in my previous reply).

    In addition, there are a number of less obvious things that may happen to anyone with a perceived link, ranging from job rejections (due to screening: "this individual is believed to have links with organisation X" - indeed MI5 was vetting BBC staff as recently as the 70s and 80s) to heightened interference from other state agencies (more frequent tax audits, benefit checks, housing application rejections, etc).

    In a court of law, there are regulations covering permissible evidence and any individual accused has the opportunity to challenge the case brought against them. There is however, a whole world outside the courts where the state can bring extra-legal pressure to bear on anyone falling in its increasingly wide definition of "suspicious".

    This is not new for the UK or US - both have examples of similar blacklists in the past with the House UnAmerican Activities Committee and MI5 tracking alleged communists. However the online world makes it far easier to track the non-security-conscious so the consequences of allowing history to repeat itself can be far greater.
    With encrypted data, nobody else can tell what it is, so there is no ability to distinguish legal from illegal. Saying you have "nothing to hide" is therefore tantamount to lying for the vast majority of people - everyone has something to hide, the question is whether the reason is legitimate (privacy, confidentiality or security related) or not.
    And where do you draw the line? Or do you think having women and children fondled by security staff before boarding any form of public transport to be an acceptable "price to pay"?

    As for "who am I to object", well you are presumably a citizen of a democracy (or partial democracy) with the right to determine who governs you - meek acquiescence with all policies however infringing, is a lifestyle more appropriate to those who live in dictatorships fearing a visit from their local mukhabbarat.
    ...actually they need no reason at all - just as the US Government (or more specifically U.S. Customs and Border Protection) need no reason to stop and search any vehicle. You could even be chosen at random for any such search.
     
    Last edited: 6 May 2011
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